Barcelona 2-1 Levante: 3 talking points from the game | La Liga 2019-20
Barcelona hosted Levante for the 22nd matchday of La Liga on Sunday night as the Blaugrana were looking to keep up with Real Madrid at the top of the table. The match started with Barcelona dominating possession and creating a number of opportunities, before eventually taking the lead through Ansu Fati, who was found beautifully by Lionel Messi.
Minutes later, the same duo combined again as Fati found the back of the net to extend the hosts' lead. Just before half-time, Antoine Griezmann missed a glorious opportunity to make it 3-0 as he saw his effort go wide from just two yards out.
In the second period, Levante grew into the game and started causing more problems but the goal came too late for them as Robin Rochina scored in the 92nd minute. All Barcelona had to do after that was hold on to the ball and in the end, the match ended 2-1 in the Blaugrana's favor.
Here, we are going to take a look at the three talking points from the game.
#3 Levante weren't clinical enough
In the second half, Levante were chasing the game and it has to be said that if the away side took all of their opportunities, it could have been a different scoreline.
First, Jose Luis Morales came close to scoring as he saw his shot fell perfectly to Roger Marti, who blasted his attempt over the bar when he had an open goal to aim at. Then, Gonzalo Melero drew another good save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen before Marti missed another one-on-one opportunity as he, again, blasted his shot over the top of the goal.
The goal that Levante eventually scored was coming for a long time and if only they could have scored earlier, who knows, they might have returned home with a point from the Camp Nou.
#2 Quique Setien is having an impact on Barcelona's style of play
It's been a few weeks since Quique Setien took over as Barcelona manager and against Levante on Sunday night, one could see the obvious change in the Spanish champions' style of play. It was as if the Blaugrana were stubbornly playing out of the back as until the 94th minute, there wasn't a single time Ter Stegen or any Barcelona defender for that matter, forcefully cleared the ball.
Sergio Busquets, instead of being a couple of steps ahead of Barcelona's centre-backs, was just slotting in between them to help build-up play from the back. Both Frenkie de Jong and Ivan Rakitic were also playing very narrow, which was helping in retaining possession.
Under Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona weren't showing this much determination to play out of the back, but it seems Setien wants to bring back what the Barcelona way of playing was all about. This is something the Barcelona supporters would be enjoying right now.
#1 Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati - a deadly duo
With Luis Suarez out injured for the foreseeable future, it's necessary for Barcelona that someone steps up in the Uruguayan's absence and Ansu Fati did that against Levante. His link-up play with Lionel Messi was absolutely wonderful to watch as both his goals were assisted by the Argentine.
The first pass from Messi was out of this world as he split open the Levante defense with an absolute peach of a pass from the halfway line, that released Fati through on goal and the youngster finished his chance with aplomb. Then, Messi again found Fati on the left-hand side, with the 17-year-old quickly turning the ball to his left-foot and stroking it between the goalkeeper's legs to get his second goal of the day.
Fati could have easily had his hat-trick against Levante if only he took his chances in the second half. Setien would be hoping that this partnership between Messi and Fati bears fruit in the weeks to come.
Published 03 Feb 2020, 08:58 IST